The Maryland Safe and Supportive Schools (MDS3) Survey and Climate Profile Scores
Creation and Administration of the MDS3 School Climate Survey
A major goal of the MDS3 Initiative is to develop a systematic approach for collecting information on school safety, student engagement, and the school environment from students, parents, and staff. The content of the three surveys (students, parents, and staff) was developed through an extensive review of the literature, review of existing research-based measures, consultation with subject matter experts, stakeholder input, and participant feedback. The MDS3 School Climate Surveys were pilot tested and approved for use by the MSDE. A passive parental consent process was developed, approved by MSDE, and used. A web-based survey system was created for administering all surveys. A sampling strategy was developed in which schools were asked to randomly select 25 classrooms for participation in the survey, including 7 ninth grade classrooms and 6 classrooms of tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade students. In spring 2014, a total of 28,057 surveys were completed by students, 1,440 by parents, and 3,067 by staff, using the web-based system.
Calculation of the MDS3 School Climate Profile Score
As required by the U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Supportive Schools grant, a School Climate Profile Score is calculated for each participating school, and then publically posted. The School Climate Profile Score is based on a weighted combination of student climate survey results, and data related to truancy and suspension incidents.
The MDS3 School Climate Profile Score is calculated using 71 items from the MDS3 School Climate Survey, which is comprised of three scale scores: Safety (an average of 4 subscales: physical safety, bullying, substance use, social-emotional wellbeing), Engagement (an average of 4 subscales: connectedness, academic emphasis, parent involvement, culture of inclusion), and Environment (an average of 3 subscales: order & discipline, physical environment, support services). The three scales are combined (using a weighted average of 30% for each scale score, and 10% for out of school suspension and truancy incident data). The average of out of school suspension and habitual truancy incident data reflects full-year figures (e.g., the 2014 School Climate Profile Score incorporates suspension and habitual truancy incident data for the 2013-14 school year). The suspension data is computed from the total number of out of school suspension offenses for the school year divided by the school enrollment. The incident data are rescaled to reflect the percentage of students not suspended and not habitually truant, respectively.
The MDS3 School Climate Profile Score is calculated on a scale from 1 to 7, with 7 indicating a more favorable school climate.